Posts Tagged ‘Lectio Divina’


We began questing, and have set up a regular rhythm. So expect a few reflective posts to come out of thoughts around and out of the Qur’an. Just like when the Rainbow Chapel was meeting, I continue to encourage folks to read spiritual works in groups together aloud. It is not only because most were crafted for this, but also allows for different life journeys to be brought to the text, and wisdom bases. Also, to have the generations involved is a whole other blessing, for how can the young learn to discuss what they believe if it is not modeled by their elders, and community happens when play happens and food is shared. As well, I encourage exploring other spiritual texts than those you are familiar with or from your tradition for it opens a new world of insight. As always I encourage use of the spiritual discovery tools discussed in other writings of mine to dive deeper into what the Holy Mystery is speaking to your soul.

Sura 1: The Opening:

  1. In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful.

  2. Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds.

  3. The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

  4. Master of the Day of Judgment.

  5. It is You we worship, and upon You we call for help.

  6. Guide us to the straight path.

  7. The path of those You have blessed, not of those against whom there is anger, nor of those who are misguided.

Remember as you journey through the words, it is not a literal understanding (as with Conservative Christian scholarship of the last 120ish years or allegory but rather the rhythm of contrast) it is the rhythm of contrast that reveals the unity that binds all through, with and within the Holy Mystery that is love.

The journey after opening brought us to the longest Sura 2, The Cow. It is actually quite a recitation that a student of the Hebrew Bible would recognize. Each time the Nation of Israel got a mulligan, they spent time—whether it was a leader, prophet, judge or king, reciting the story of the people and the law up to that moment in time. A device to remind the people of what the Holy had brought them through, and who they were as a tribe. As we began to explore the second Sura, this familiar journey was reminded. In the historic moment, Islam being officially the third religious sect sprung from the Abrahamic and Sarai Covenant with the Holy (first two: Judaism and Christianity, anthropologically this can be broken down to multitude more, but I will not digress). Reaching half-way through it showed a great discussion around monotheists, and polytheists as the contrast presented for those who have found the path and those that haven’t. Yet within the contrast what can be seen is not the challenge of how many spiritual beings exist, for all are within the one. What is seen to be judged is found in 2:14:

  1. And when they come across those who believe, they say, “We believe”; but when they are alone with their devils, they say, “We are with you; we were only ridiculing.”

That is, is what we say what we do…or do we only profess kindness while plotting only for our own glory?

How many recognize this challenge from other wells that they use to drink from the Holy River?

  1. Their likeness is that of a person who kindled a fire; when it illuminated all around him, God took away their light, and left them in darkness, unable to see.

-Sura 2:17

A reminder as the teaching the Holy light would shine into the darkness and confuse it had been around since the ancient myths of Prometheus stealing fire from the gods for humanity. What this verse does, is starkly remind us when we choose to live only for ourselves, to forget love of neighbour and self that flows out of the Holy River, the light never existed and all that is left is darkness.

Are you living the light or lying in the darkness?

 

Advertisements

And Tobias went forward, and the dog followed him, and he lodged the first night by the river of Tigris.

-Book of Tobit 6:1 (Douay-Rheims Bible)

 

Yes, it is a line from the Bible. Why the dog went? Is it some grand theological mystery I am going to unpack for you now? No. Let’s be real, the family goes adventuring the dog goes with. And for my friends in the Protestant version of Christianities you will not find this in your 66 books. It is one of the Apocryphya-Deutero-Canonical. That essentially means extra books, it is found in the Roman Catholic 72 books. See the Bible is not as closed and finite as many believe, it is a varied collection dependent on the Christianity you journey through—Orthodox, Protestants, Catholic, Coptic, Gnostic, etc… each has their own canonical collection.

And within are gems that prove fundamentalist-literalism is truly a newer last 100ish years invention that was never intended to be the lens to read scripture through.  Literalism is taking the black and white word on the page for what it means. By extension that is saying to someone watch Shakespeare literally without the form that shapes the tragedies or Agatha Christie without using your reason and deduction skills to solve the mystery. It removes the humanity from the spiritual experience which leaves ones’ bones dry and dusty on the plains missing the connecting with the Holy Mystery.

Tobit is a story. Full stop. Enter it like you would a short story in your English class from school. Love the characters, read it, analyze it if you want, or just see the different themes that emerge. Themes of the archetype of blindness, oppression, character assassination, the hero’s journey with a needed companion, love and redemption. Read a version of Tobit hear online: http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/apo/tob.htm

Take time now to read it slower over. A chapter a day through breath-contemplative Lectio Divina.

Read/hear each chapter 3 times. Before you begin to ensure you are comfortable, that there is a journal near by. Whether you journal through colour, drawing, words or all the above, ensure your hands move to answer the questions that emerge from your spiritual heart. For within Tobit we can discover the answers to the question Who is my neighbour?

Light a candle. Sit comfortably. Allow your breathing to slow. Feel yourself traverse time in the way only a story can allow you too. Travel back to the time of Assyrian occupation of Israel, in the ancient town of Nineveh.

First reading: As you hear the chapter the first time, let the words roll through your mind. What word or phrase leaps out upon this reading? Spend time with this phrase? What emotions does it bring forward for you? Sit with that emotion.

Second Reading: As you hear the chapter the second time, let the words roll through your mind. What word or phrase leaps out upon this reading? Spend time focusing on this word/phrase. What memory of your past does it bring forward? Live into the memory for this is part of your own’s hero journey.

Third reading: Upon the third reading spend time with the emotion and memory that have emerged before. Where do these guide you, what revelation on your own journey is opened.

When you are ready, bring your breathing back to normal, feel yourself come back to where you are in space and time.

At the end of the 14-day exploration, reflect back on the images and words in your journaling. Take time to reflect on them.

What has been revealed to you about the journey of being a neighbour in your community?


 

“The very best and utmost of attainment in this life is to remain still and let God act and speak in you.”

Meister Eckhart

As we enter another time of contemplation for interior growth lived out exteriorly in love I saw this quote on Rev. Matthew Fox’s Facebook page and thought it appropriate to open with. For it is the work on ourselves, what my other books have dubbed soul work, that is the most important work you will ever do, for it opens yourself up fully to the one-ness with the source of love which already abides.

Take time to set a place where you can respite, and listen deeply with your heart. If a candle helps you focus, feel free to light one, or many. Get comfortable in a sitting position. Breathe in peace and exhale love.

Feel the room around you melt away.

Hear the animals sold for sacrifices, the kids and women in segregation within their house of worship.

Listen to the religious oppressors as the mumble amongst themselves, and those deemed unworthy as they feel love for the first time.

Know what it is like to see the neighbour boy. Perhaps you were one of the other village mother’s that changed and cared for him. Perhaps you were one of his friends or bullies in boyhood. Watch in awe and anger as he takes a place of honour as a teaching elder to the community.

A place in which many try to put aside the child born into scandal. Mary’s bastard as some would say. Perhaps the offspring of a Roman, but not Joseph’s.

Be here and now as you hear these words 3 times.

The first hearing:

Chapter 121

The Christines are in Nazareth. Miriam sings a Christine song of praise. Jesus teaches in the synagogue. He heals a dumb man who is obsessed. The people do not believe in him. The Pharisees call him a tool of Beelzebul. The Christines go to Cana.

1. It was a gala day in Nazareth. The people there had met with one accord to celebrate some great event.
2. And Jesus and the foreign masters and the twelve, and Mary, mother of the Lord, and Miriam were there.
3. And when the people were assembled in the great hall of the town, the graceful singer, Miriam, stood and sang a song of praise.
4. But few of all the multitude knew who the singer was; but instantly she won all hearts.
5. For many days she sang the songs of Israel, and then she went her way.
6. The Sabbath came and Jesus went into the synagogue. He took the book of Psalms and read:
7. Blest is the man who puts his trust in God, respecting not the proud nor such as turn aside to lies.
8. O lord, my God, the works that thou hast done for us are wonderful; and many are thy thoughts for us; we cannot count them all,
9. Thou dost not call for sacrifice, nor offerings of blood; burnt offerings and offerings for sin thou dost not want;
10. And lo, I come to do thy will, O God, thy law is in my heart,
11. And I have preached the word of righteousness and peace unto the thronging multitudes; I have declared the counsel of my God in full.
12. I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and grace.
13. I have not kept thy loving-kindness and thy truth away from men; I have declared them to the multitudes.
14. O Lord, make wide my lips that I may tell thy praise; I do not bring the sacrifice of blood, nor yet burnt offerings for sin.
15. The sacrifices I would bring to thee, O God, are purity in life, a contrite heart, a spirit full of faith and love, and these thou wilt receive.
16. And when he had thus read, he gave the book back to the keeper of the books, and then he said,
17. Upon these ends of earth these messages of God have come.
18. Our people have exalted sacrificial rites and have neglected mercy, justice and the rights of men.
19. You Pharisees, you priests, you scribes, your God surfeited with blood; God does not heed your prayers; you stand before your burning victims; but you stand in vain.
20. Turn you unto the testimonies of the law; reform and turn to God, and you shall live.
21. Let not your altars be accursed again with smoke of innocence.
22. Bring unto God as sacrifice a broken and a contrite heart.
23. Lift from your fellow men the burdens that you have imposed.
24. And if you hearken not, and if you turn not from your evil ways, lo, God will smite this nation with a curse.
25. And when he had thus said he stood aside, and all the people were astonished, and they said,
26. Where did this man get all his knowledge and his power? From whence did all this wisdom come?
27. Is not this Mary’s son, whose home is out on Marmion Way?
28. Are not his brothers, Jude and James and Simon, known among our honoured men? Are not his sisters with us here?
29. But they were all offended by the words he spoke.
30. And Jesus said, A prophet has no honour in his native land; he is not well received among his kin; his foes are in his home.
31. And Jesus wrought not many mighty works in Nazareth, because the people had no faith in him. He did not tarry long.
32. But as he passed from thence two blind men followed him and cried, Thou son of David, hear! Have mercy, Lord, and open up our eyes that we may see.
33. And Jesus said, Do you believe that I can open up your eyes and make you see?
34. They said, Yea, Lord, we know that if you speak the Word then we can see.
35. And Jesus touched their eyes and spoke the Word; he said, According to your faith so will it be.
36. And they were blest; they opened up their eyes and saw.
37. And Jesus said, Tell not this thing to any one.
38. But they went forth and told the news through all the land.
39. As Jesus walked along the way a man who was obsessed, and who was dumb, was brought to him.
40. And Jesus spoke the Word; the unclean spirit came out of the man; his tongue was loosed; he spoke; he said, Praise God.
41. The people were amazed; They said, This is a mighty deed; we never saw that done before.
42. The Pharisees were also much amazed; but they cried out and said,
43. You men of Israel, take heed; this Jesus is a tool of Beelzebul; he heals the sick and casts the spirits out in Satan’s name.
44. But Jesus answered not; he went his way.
45. And with the foreign masters and the twelve he went up to the town where he once turned the water into wine, and tarried certain days.

-The Aquarian Gospel

Reflect on a time when you were like a Pharisee in your own life. Yes that is right: Your own life. A moment when you questioned how could you possibly do this? Weren’t you simply (fill in your world’s stereotype for whom you are or where you are from?). Sit with this memory. Do you see the Pharisee falsehood within? Feel the freedom of release of these chains.

Move into the second hearing:

The Aquarian Gospel 121: 1-45

 

Reflect on a moment when you questioned your own achievements. Sit with a particular memory that resonates. That voice of question, that is like the Pharisee seeing the miracle and saying that it is of evil.  When is achievement sourced in love an act of evil? What do you see revealed in the questioning voice within your own achievement? What is the name of your Pharisee? Understand this Pharisee has served you in life, but it is now time, as like Brother Jesus, to walk away and release.  Are you ready to step into the new life and silence the Pharisee within?

Move into the third and final hearing:

The Aquarian Gospel 121: 1-45

 

Miriam living into love and out of her gifting created joy in her world. Rest in a time when using your gifts this happened in your life?

As yourself, what would it take to create a life built upon living into and out of Joy?

Are you able to? Willing to? Take the step into faith and be healed from the Pharisee into the life of Joy and true voice of yours?

Feel your breath return to normal.

Feel the meeting house melt away. Sounds and smells vanish.

Feel your room return around you. Get used to the existing smells and sounds.

Feel your chair form around you.

Relax into the joy you are meant to live.

Feel your true voice strong within you.

Are you ready to speak your true self to the world?

More importantly,

Are you ready to speak your true self to yourself?

 

 


Ah parables. How best to reach an oral culture only kind of coming into written records. And those written records are tied more to the authorities, the wealthy than the collected masses, or as Marx would dub us the proletariat. The working classes. These are the classes that Jesus of Nazareth, Brother Jesus would emerge from. AN unwed mother married to a carpenter/labourer to literally save her from an unkindly street death. But he was one that got it, connected deeply to the source of all that is. Showing the way that we all could be connected into the source of Love.

It is the parable that touched into the deeper levels of the person, and allowed for the early followers of the Cosmic Christ in the flesh so diverse. Just think of it—outcasts, those with health issues, mental health concerns; sex trade workers, labourers, wealthy religious (in secret), Roman soldiers/officers and Zealots to name but a few. It was this type of parable that the social gospel movement in Canada tied into to get folks active for political and societal change. For example the story of Mouseland, with one of the most famous being Tommy Douglas, but also among the ranks Bible Bill Aberhart, Preston Manning, Joe Clark, Pierre Trudeau, J.S. Woodsworth, Agnes MacPhail (her image now gracing the $10 Canadian note), Paul Martin Jr., Rev. Bill Phipps, Elizabeth May, my own parents and grandparents,  to name but a few. But truly it is those driven by a deep conviction that we are created good, and as such we are to live out this ideal of justice, peace, faith, hope and love as laid out by Brother Jesus. So, I am sure there are many examples within your own world and life if you take but a moment to pause and ponder.

For it is in the parables that Brother Jesus lays out a path of self-discovery. A path that shows where we and our neighbours can be existing, but also at different phases in our lives where we have existed. For with planting soil changes over time, that which was not able to grow previous with the right tending and additions can become quite fertile.  This is the thrust found within the parable of the sower.

It is in most gospel texts that one would class as canonical, so if you wish to use this reflection with those texts, they can be found in the synoptic gospels in: Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:1-15. Though we will continue to use Levi’s Aquarian gospel from the early 1900’s as the newer wording may touch a different chord. In that text it is found in chapter 115, which you may read here for full context

As always, I invite you to get comfortable where you are sitting. It is a meditative lectio divina as you hear the parable three times, with different focus questions to see where the soil of your heart is at, and where it is being renewed.  Before you begin, write on a scrap of paper that which you need to leave in the hear and now that can distract you. Once written crumple up and throw into the recycle. Those distractions, busyness, weights of the heart can come back after, but here, now your full presence is asked for.

Take time to slow your breathing, deep breaths in of cosmic love, the dust that formed your very essence as good. Breathe out the chakra sludge that separates you from that goodness.

Feel the 21st century technological buzzing fade away. Feel the chair you are sitting on disappear, along with the walls of where you are. The time. Travel back. Feel the dust and fresh breeze untouched by the Industrial Revolution. Smell the sea air.  The smell of the crowds, intermingling. You are on the outskirts of the crowd. People had spoken about this teacher, this Jesus of Nazareth. Some called him a bastard child and/or insane. Others said he was a master teacher, one with a new way to truly transform things.

As you hear the story the first time, think of when your heart was like the rocky soil where messages/actions of love were easily carried away by others, like the birds. Sit with one memory, what has or has not changed in your life since then?

The first hearing:

  1. And Jesus stood beside the sea and taught; the multitudes pressed close upon him and he went into a boat that was near by and put a little ways from shore, and then he spoke in parables; he said,
    Behold, a sower took his seed and went into his field to sow.
    3. With lavish hand he scattered forth the seed and some fell in the hardened paths that men had made,
    4. And soon were crushed beneath the feet of other men; and birds came down and carried all the seeds away.
    5. Some seed fell on rocky ground where there was little soil; they grew and soon the blades appeared and promised much;
    6. But then there was no depth of soil, no chance for nourishment, and in the heat of noonday sun they withered up and died.
    7. Some seed fell where thistles grew, and found no earth in which to grow and they were lost;
    8. But other seed found lodgement in the rich and tender soil and grew apace, and in the harvest it was found that some brought forth a hundred fold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold.
    9. They who have ears to hear may hear; they who hearts to understand may know.
    10. Now, his disciples were beside him in the boat, and Thomas asked, Why do you speak in parables?
    11. And Jesus said, My words, like every master’s words, are dual in their sense.
    12. To you who know the language of the soul, my words have meanings far too deep for other men to comprehend.
    13. The other sense of what I say is all the multitude can understand; these words are food for them; the inner thoughts are food for you.
    14. Let every one reach forth and take the food that he is ready to receive.
    15. And then he spoke that all might hear; he said, Hear you the meaning of the parable:
    16. Men hear my words and understand them not, and then the carnal self purloins the seed, and not a sign of spirit life appears.
    17. This is the seed that fell within the beaten paths of men.
    18. And others hear the words of life, and with a fiery zeal receive them all; they seem to comprehend the truth and promise well;
    19. But troubles come; discouragements arise; there is no depth of thought; their good intentions wither up and die.
    20. These are the seeds that fell in stony ground.
    21. And others hear the words of truth and seem to know their worth; but love of pleasure, reputation, wealth and fame fill all the soil; the seeds are nourished not and they are lost.
    22. These are the seeds that fell among the thistles and the thorns.
    23. But others hear the words of truth and comprehend them well; they sink down deep into their souls; they live the holy life and all the world is blest.
    24. These are the seeds that fell in fertile soil, that brought forth fruit abundantly.
    25. You men of Galilee, take heed to how you hear and how you cultivate your fields; for if you slight the offers of this day, the sower may not come to you again in this or in the age to come.

-Aquarian Gospel 115: 1-25

As you prepare for the second hearing. Think of the next step of life in self-discovery, within that inner battle of transfiguration. When have you been like the seed battling in the soil with the weeds to emerge and not taking hold? Let these memories move from your mind to your heart. Spend time with the root cause of rooting in the weeds instead of the seed of love? Are you ready to breathe out this sludge?

The second hearing:

  1. And Jesus stood beside the sea and taught; the multitudes pressed close upon him and he went into a boat that was near by and put a little ways from shore, and then he spoke in parables; he said,
    Behold, a sower took his seed and went into his field to sow.
    3. With lavish hand he scattered forth the seed and some fell in the hardened paths that men had made,
    4. And soon were crushed beneath the feet of other men; and birds came down and carried all the seeds away.
    5. Some seed fell on rocky ground where there was little soil; they grew and soon the blades appeared and promised much;
    6. But then there was no depth of soil, no chance for nourishment, and in the heat of noonday sun they withered up and died.
    7. Some seed fell where thistles grew, and found no earth in which to grow and they were lost;
    8. But other seed found lodgement in the rich and tender soil and grew apace, and in the harvest it was found that some brought forth a hundred fold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold.
    9. They who have ears to hear may hear; they who hearts to understand may know.
    10. Now, his disciples were beside him in the boat, and Thomas asked, Why do you speak in parables?
    11. And Jesus said, My words, like every master’s words, are dual in their sense.
    12. To you who know the language of the soul, my words have meanings far too deep for other men to comprehend.
    13. The other sense of what I say is all the multitude can understand; these words are food for them; the inner thoughts are food for you.
    14. Let every one reach forth and take the food that he is ready to receive.
    15. And then he spoke that all might hear; he said, Hear you the meaning of the parable:
    16. Men hear my words and understand them not, and then the carnal self purloins the seed, and not a sign of spirit life appears.
    17. This is the seed that fell within the beaten paths of men.
    18. And others hear the words of life, and with a fiery zeal receive them all; they seem to comprehend the truth and promise well;
    19. But troubles come; discouragements arise; there is no depth of thought; their good intentions wither up and die.
    20. These are the seeds that fell in stony ground.
    21. And others hear the words of truth and seem to know their worth; but love of pleasure, reputation, wealth and fame fill all the soil; the seeds are nourished not and they are lost.
    22. These are the seeds that fell among the thistles and the thorns.
    23. But others hear the words of truth and comprehend them well; they sink down deep into their souls; they live the holy life and all the world is blest.
    24. These are the seeds that fell in fertile soil, that brought forth fruit abundantly.
    25. You men of Galilee, take heed to how you hear and how you cultivate your fields; for if you slight the offers of this day, the sower may not come to you again in this or in the age to come.

-Aquarian Gospel 115: 1-25

Prepare yourself for the last hearing. When soil is fertile for the seed to take hold. Is there a time of remembrance in your life, your very soul energy that you can remember this? Even in the journeys that go to and fro where we exist mostly in rocks and weeds, there are glimmers of this or long lived life in the nourished soil. Take hold of the memories. Spend time going deeper into them to the core spark/stardust that is the ember of the Cosmic Christ within.

The Third Hearing:

  1. And Jesus stood beside the sea and taught; the multitudes pressed close upon him and he went into a boat that was near by and put a little ways from shore, and then he spoke in parables; he said,
    Behold, a sower took his seed and went into his field to sow.
    3. With lavish hand he scattered forth the seed and some fell in the hardened paths that men had made,
    4. And soon were crushed beneath the feet of other men; and birds came down and carried all the seeds away.
    5. Some seed fell on rocky ground where there was little soil; they grew and soon the blades appeared and promised much;
    6. But then there was no depth of soil, no chance for nourishment, and in the heat of noonday sun they withered up and died.
    7. Some seed fell where thistles grew, and found no earth in which to grow and they were lost;
    8. But other seed found lodgement in the rich and tender soil and grew apace, and in the harvest it was found that some brought forth a hundred fold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold.
    9. They who have ears to hear may hear; they who hearts to understand may know.
    10. Now, his disciples were beside him in the boat, and Thomas asked, Why do you speak in parables?
    11. And Jesus said, My words, like every master’s words, are dual in their sense.
    12. To you who know the language of the soul, my words have meanings far too deep for other men to comprehend.
    13. The other sense of what I say is all the multitude can understand; these words are food for them; the inner thoughts are food for you.
    14. Let every one reach forth and take the food that he is ready to receive.
    15. And then he spoke that all might hear; he said, Hear you the meaning of the parable:
    16. Men hear my words and understand them not, and then the carnal self purloins the seed, and not a sign of spirit life appears.
    17. This is the seed that fell within the beaten paths of men.
    18. And others hear the words of life, and with a fiery zeal receive them all; they seem to comprehend the truth and promise well;
    19. But troubles come; discouragements arise; there is no depth of thought; their good intentions wither up and die.
    20. These are the seeds that fell in stony ground.
    21. And others hear the words of truth and seem to know their worth; but love of pleasure, reputation, wealth and fame fill all the soil; the seeds are nourished not and they are lost.
    22. These are the seeds that fell among the thistles and the thorns.
    23. But others hear the words of truth and comprehend them well; they sink down deep into their souls; they live the holy life and all the world is blest.
    24. These are the seeds that fell in fertile soil, that brought forth fruit abundantly.
    25. You men of Galilee, take heed to how you hear and how you cultivate your fields; for if you slight the offers of this day, the sower may not come to you again in this or in the age to come.

-Aquarian Gospel 115: 1-25

 

Are you willing to take hold of that ember and fan it?

Are you able to live from that spark into and out of the divine?

When you are ready with that spark. Visualizing it moving through each of the seven chakras to firmly root in the opening/awakening crown chakra. Breath in deeply the love of all, breathe out the love of all. Feel the fresh air fade away. The breeze on your face stop. The noise of the crowds. You are the fertile soil the Master Sower has found.

Hold to this truth.

As you move forward through time.

As your room reforms around you.

Your chair.

Your breath slowly returns to normal.

Your eyes re-open.

Your very essence awakens.

Are you willing to truly live as the Master Sower has sowed you?

What are you going to do today to step into your destiny of love?


Been awhile since I have put together one of these column styles, but I believe it is time to get some fresh thoughts out there within the Canadian Social Justice Context. Since January 20, 2017 when President Trump was sworn in as President of the USA, I have noticed a downturn in the Canadian justice workers’ ability to be reflective about the state of our own nation, province, city/town/village, community and self. We like to project to the Big Bad Wolf to the South and be able to say “well its Trump.”

When truly, we have many stones to repair in Castle Le Canada.

This is some musings from the reflective time of Purim (the Hebrew Bible story of Esther) which begun at conclusion of Sabbath yesterday and concludes at sundown tonight. For the story of Esther, click here.  For those readers of regularity of this site, I encourage a reflective Lectio Divina of the text to set your spirit in a-tune-ment to see the state of your world and how it reflects in the Holy Story. 3 questions could be (one for each hearing):

  1. When have I been silent? (sit with this memory)
  2. When have I been Haman in my world?
  3. When have I found a voice like Esther?

The third is where you find the resonating with the love of the Holy Mystery to take forward. Another spiritual practice would be to rewrite the story from the hardest point of view you have: King, Esther, Mortdecai, Ex-Queen, Haman? What truths are revealed for your life?

But I digress as this is not a theology lesson, but rather a time to be eclectic and percolate some thoughts in our souls as Canadians where next steps lay for our Just Society.

Aboriginal Health Care– due to treaty and the colonial-patriarchy of reserves this falls under Federal auspices, yet any Constitutional Act 1982 student (BNA Act 1867) know that this means literal limbo for our First Nations family members as the true provider of health care is provincial. So how do we truly reconcile, move forward in the new and bury to old?  Full signing on of each specific nation as a province under the Constitution Act 1982 and Charter of Rights and Freedoms, with one step forward each nation dependent on population getting 4-8 seats in the House of Commons (not added extra, existing redistributed); and a set 10 block for all First Nations (+2 for Metis, +2 for Inuit) specifically in the senate, again redistribution, not adding.

This then can allow for both the HoC and Senate to be re-worked Constitutionally and perhaps a social charter can be designed that includes housing, health care, education, right of choice in life, death and income guarantees for every Canadian.

Which also flows into the next as #TRC has happened for our First Nations family, yet we have continued to ostracize/demonize another population whose story needs to be told- The Metis (Half-breeds).

The children of colonialism and the fur trade. The Roman Catholic Church forged a cultural community within those of mixed from Aboriginal-French. Which gave our nation Louis Riel and Garbiel Dumont, brought Manitoba into Confederation, first human rights writing in Canada, and a battle for equality. One that as a nation we never saw for this group until the 1930’s when they were finally recognized as human beings. The story of the Half-breeds on the book is much more destructive, as the British (Scottish-Irish) did not have collectivist good, and belief in conquering through inter-marriage but rather through absorbing. Which created the choice the child was either Aboriginal or white, so one culture lost completely. That is just what our history books will tell us, what is the story on the ground? That which has been silenced? We already know of the land tracts and speculators swindling them out of the land for a low price. But what other harm/trauma lies underneath that needs to be told? Held as truth? And then as a true community choosing to move forward as one?

This is why the TRC records with First Nations need to be kept in the national archive, need to be published and shared far and wide, so the story is known. It is part of us. But also part of the story is the choice to move forward as one and write a new story. This is the reconciliation piece of Truth and Reconciliation.

But this also brings down to the microcosm.

Where I have been struggling with my own Truth and Reconciliation within the United Church of Canada.The family pilgrimage for sacred community as has been written about, has brought us into a Northeast congregation of the UCC, where yes our son who is differently abled has found embrace. He is quite empathetic and a good reader of a person’s true energy, so when he goes on his own volition to join other kids you know the authenticity well.

But aiding him to walk as the weather change is making his muscles sore into the Wonderkids, and seeing the mish mash of kids: other cultures, typically and differently abled just together being kids it hit in my heart.

For it was seeing lived out today in church,  what almost 10 years ago got me fired from the United Church Congregation that I surrendered any hope of ordination to choose inclusion.

Just one of those aha moments, that when you start to unpack the day, and realizing the connections of everything…people…nature…energy…the Holy Mystery permeates all, and all is interconnected within it.

So as with the differently abled community coming into full inclusion in the microcosm, I look to the TRC at the more macro level for inclusion at the national level… and to the two national party’s choosing leaders-Conservative and NDP I ask members to look to the core of the beautiful mosaic Canada is, and to vote your conscience for a leader, and for policy that shapes your party in that unity within our diversity to move forward from troubled waters of the past both recent and historic.

Make the choice as Esther did, to find our voice, step out of the silence, and into the resounding thunder of justice, equality and belonging that resonates from the centre that is love. Out of this love, live our lives for a true difference, for a truly better world.

We are thankful for these and all the good things of life. We recognize that they are a part of our common heritage and come to us through the efforts of our brothers and sisters the world over. What we desire for ourselves, we wish for all. To this end, may we take our share in the world’s work and the world’s struggles.

An end note aside: To Bernie Van De Walle (my theology professor at Canadian Theological Seminary)-I finally fully get your comment about reading my theolgoy through the lens of Woodsworth.


The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus Christ is a new age text that reimagines the Jesus narrative as a universal spiritual journey that ties together eternal truths. It is not a reimagining in false, but touches into intuitive pieces of the story, mystery pieces that gnostic/mystic writers have been answering in “non-canonical” writings for centuries.

It is a story of living into and out of the love of the Holy Mystery. It is the story of how this attunement removes the ego of individualism that destroys self. The journey from birth to death…the reasons behind the assassination of the peasant labourer become travelling mystic rabbi can be found in the Sermon on the Mount/Plains.  This is a journey reflection for the sojourner on these passages as channeled by Levi H. Dowling (1920) in his work:

Prayer is the deep communion of the soul with God;

-Aquarian Gospel 94:2

Meister Eckhart said if the only prayer you said was thank you that would be sufficient. It is true, for it is in these moments of deep oneness that words become irrelevant, for we empty ourselves of the ego that allows for injustice to reign.

Deception is hypocrisy, and you shall not assume to be what you are not.

-Aquarian Gospel 94:18

Yet it is Ignatius of Loyola that gifted us with the Lectio Divina the sacred reading of hearing the sacred words three times to see what the Holy was saying to us.

This is a bit more than hearing of three times, for it is taking time to become contemplative, to enter the story. To rest within that which gave us life, and learn what it means to live out of and through that love.

Take a moment to reflect on the continuing Sermon on the Mount in

Chapter 95:

The Sermon on the Mount, continued. Jesus pronounces the eight beatitudes and the eight woes. Speaks words of encouragement. Emphasises the exalted character of the apostolic work.

1. And Jesus and the twelve went to the mountain top, and Jesus said,
2. Twelve pillars of the church, apostles of the Christ; light-bearers of the sun of life and ministers of God to men:
3. In just a little while you must go forth alone, and preach the gospel of the king, first to the Jews and then to all the world.
4. And you shall go, not with a scourge of cords to drive; you cannot drive men to the king;
5. But you shall go in love and helpfulness and lead the way to right and light.
6. Go forth and say, The kingdom is at hand.
7. Worthy are the strong in spirit; theirs the kingdom is.
8. Worthy are the meek; they shall possess the land.
9. Worthy they who hunger and thirst for right; they shall be satisfied.
10. Worthy are the merciful; and mercy shall be shown to them.
11. Worthy they who gain the mastery of self; they have the key of power.
12. Worthy are the pure in heart; and they shall see the king.
13. Worthy they who are maligned and wronged because they do the right; their persecutors they shall bless.
14. Worthy is the trustful child of faith; he shall sit in the throne of power.
15. Be not discouraged when the world shall persecute and call you curst; but rather be exceeding glad.
16. The prophets and the seers, and all the good of earth, have been maligned.
17. If you are worthy of the crown of life you will be slandered, vilified and curst on earth.
18. Rejoice when evil men shall drive you from their ways and cause your name to be a hiss and by-word in the street.
19. I say, rejoice; but deal in mercy with the doers of the wrong; they are but children at their play; they know not what they do.
20. Rejoice not over fallen foes. As you help men rise from the depth of sin, so God will help you on to greater heights.
21. Woe to the rich is gold and lands; they have temptations multiforms.
22. Woe unto men who walk at will in pleasure’s paths; their ways are full of snares and dangerous pits.
23. Woe to the proud; they stand upon a precipice; destruction waits for them.
24. Woe to the man of greed; for what he has is not his own; and lo, another comes; wealth is gone.
25. Woe to the hypocrite; his form is fair to look upon; his heart is filled with carcasses and dead men’s bones.
26. Woe to the cruel and relentless man; he is himself the victim of his deeds.
27. The evil he would do to other men rebounds; the scourger is the scourged.
28. Woe to the libertine who preys upon the virtues of the weak. The hour comes when he will be the weak, the victim of a libertine of greater power.
29. Woe unto you when all the world shall speak in praise of you. The world speaks not in praise of men who live within the Holy Breath; It speaks in praise of prophets false, and of illusions base.
30. You men who walk in Holy Breath are salt, the salt of earth; but if you lose your virtue you are salt in name alone, worth nothing more than dust.
31. And you are light; are called to light the world.
32. A city on a hill cannot be hid; its lights are seen afar; and while you stand upon the hills of life men see your light and imitate your works and honour God.
33. Men do not light a lamp and hide it in a cask; they put it on a stand that it may light the house.
34. You are the lamps of God; must not stand in the shade of earth illusions, but in the open, high upon the stand.
35. I am not come to nullify the law, nor to destroy; but to fulfil.
36. The Law, the Prophets and the Psalms were written in the wisdom of the Holy breath and cannot fail.
37. The heavens and earth that are will change and pass away; the word of God is sure; it cannot pass until it shall accomplish that where unto it hath been sent.
38. Whoever disregards the law of God and teaches men to do the same, becomes a debtor unto God and cannot see his face until he has returned and paid his debt by sacrifice of life.
39. But he who hearkens unto God and keeps his law and does his will on earth, shall rule with Christ.
40. The scribes and Pharisees regard the letter of the law; they cannot comprehend the spirit of the law;
41. And if your righteousness does not exceed the righteousness of scribe and Pharisee you cannot come into the kingdom of the soul.
42. It is not what man does that gives him right to enter through the gates; his pass word is his character and desire is his character.
43. The letter of the law deals with the acts of man; the spirit of the law takes note of his desires.

Which 3-5 verses resonate with your soul this day? Take those 3-5 verses as your Lection Divina contemplation today.

Rest comfortably into your chair, slowly begin a rhythmic deep breathing. Slowly feeling your surroundings slip away. Replaced by the sounds of the gathering on the mount. Sounds of children playing, animals bleating, dust blowing. Feel the grass and sand. The strong baritone voice of the rabbi you have come to hear, that others are talking of, resonates throughout the gathering of multitudes.

Upon your first reading of the verses. Sit with them. What words stick with you. Take that phrase or word and spend time with it.

Slowly enter the second reading with that word still there, what image leaps from the page? Spend time with this image?  How does this image tie to the word/phrase that came before?

Prepare your heart for the finally hearing. The word/image have set the stage. In this third hearing, what walls have broken down? Pieces of ego removed? The words of the sermon on the mount so shook society…how has it shook you? What step of faith are you going to take to live out this teaching: Today? This week? This Month?

 The seventh is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; remember it and keep it wholly set apart for works of holiness; that is, for works not for the selfish self, but for the universal self.
 Men may do work for self upon the six days of the week; but on the Sabbath of the Lord they must do naught for self.
This day is consecrated unto God; but man serves God by serving man.

-Aquarian Gospel 96:25-27


Lectio Divina of Tools

Tradition dictates that Poppa Joseph was a carpenter, there is scholarly debate whether this is true, or simply a labourer…what is known is that under Oppression, where his mother was viewed as nothing more than property by Romans, and her own people, Joseph showed progressive love and took in a child that was not his, whether it was truly Divinely conceived, or the by-product of Roman Soldier rape that a vision revealed the blessing this awakened soul would have in his travels in the world is up to your own journey to determine.

But this passage comes after the Christian Canonical story of finding Jesus testing the Holy men in the temple, and their return to Nazareth, and the family workshop. It has Masonic overtones which make sense for the time Levi was writing to resonate with the readers on the truth found in the building blocks, and the universalist outreach intended for this writing, and showing how many different paths had converged in the wisdom of Brother Jesus.

So we are taking this passage as a Divine Reading, a contemplation for your own truth, and if you feel like sharing in the comments what you have learned, feel free.

Get comfortable where you are, breathing deeply in and out, finding peace and centring. Feel the modern world evaporate around you.  Feel the smells, the sounds of a busy Nazareth town come into your life. The dust on your clothes and feet. The smells and textures of the workshop you are in.  You are the Christ Child, learning about the tools.

In this first hearing which tool resonates with you, sit with that for a few moments:

The Aquarian Gospel 20:

After the feast. The homeward journey. The missing Jesus. The search for him. His parents find him in the temple. He goes with them to Nazareth. Symbolic meaning of carpenter’s tools.

1. The great feast of the pasch was ended and the Nazarenes were journeying towards their homes.
2. And they were in Samaria, and Mary said, Where is my son? No one had seen the boy.
3. And Joseph sought among their kindred who were on their way to Galilee; but they had seen him not.
4. Then Joseph, Mary, and a son of Zebedee, returned and sought through all Jerusalem, but they could find him not.
5. And then they went up to the temple courts and asked the guards, Have you seen Jesus, a fair-haired boy, with deep blue eyes, twelve years of age, about these courts?
6. The guards replied, Yes, he is in the temple now disputing with the doctors of the law.
7. And they went in, and found him as the guards had said.
8. And Mary said, Why Jesus, why do you treat your parents thus? Lo, we have sought two days for you. We feared that some great harm had overtaken you.
9. And Jesus said, Do you not know that I must be about my Father’s work?
10. But he went round and pressed the hand of every doctor of the law and said, I trust that we may meet again.
11. And then he went forth with his parents on their way to Nazareth; and when they reached their home he wrought with Joseph as a carpenter.
12. One day as he was bringing forth the tools for work he said,
13. These tools remind me of the ones we handle in the workshop of the mind where things were made of thought and where we build up character.
14. We use the square to measure all our lines, to straighten out the crooked places of the way, and make the corners of our conduct square.
15. We use the compass to draw circles round our passions and desires to keep them in the bounds of righteousness.
16. We use the axe to cut away the knotty, useless and ungainly parts and make the character symmetrical.
17. We use the hammer to drive home the truth, and pound it in until it is a part of every part.
18. We use the plane to smooth the rough, uneven surfaces of joint, and block, and board that go to build the temple for the truth.
19. The chisel, line, the plummet and the saw all have their uses in the workshop of the mind.
20. And then this ladder with its trinity of steps, faith, hope and love; on it we climb up to the dome of purity in life.
21. And on the twelve-step ladder we ascend until we reach the pinnacle of that which life is spent to build–the Temple of Perfected Man.

As you prepare to hear the story a second time, the tool that resonates with you, what images/memories/feelings arise within you centered around that tool? Sit with those, experience those, and release them into the Universe as the truth that Love will embrace in the now.

Hear the teaching a second time:

After the feast. The homeward journey. The missing Jesus. The search for him. His parents find him in the temple. He goes with them to Nazareth. Symbolic meaning of carpenter’s tools.

1. The great feast of the pasch was ended and the Nazarenes were journeying towards their homes.
2. And they were in Samaria, and Mary said, Where is my son? No one had seen the boy.
3. And Joseph sought among their kindred who were on their way to Galilee; but they had seen him not.
4. Then Joseph, Mary, and a son of Zebedee, returned and sought through all Jerusalem, but they could find him not.
5. And then they went up to the temple courts and asked the guards, Have you seen Jesus, a fair-haired boy, with deep blue eyes, twelve years of age, about these courts?
6. The guards replied, Yes, he is in the temple now disputing with the doctors of the law.
7. And they went in, and found him as the guards had said.
8. And Mary said, Why Jesus, why do you treat your parents thus? Lo, we have sought two days for you. We feared that some great harm had overtaken you.
9. And Jesus said, Do you not know that I must be about my Father’s work?
10. But he went round and pressed the hand of every doctor of the law and said, I trust that we may meet again.
11. And then he went forth with his parents on their way to Nazareth; and when they reached their home he wrought with Joseph as a carpenter.
12. One day as he was bringing forth the tools for work he said,
13. These tools remind me of the ones we handle in the workshop of the mind where things were made of thought and where we build up character.
14. We use the square to measure all our lines, to straighten out the crooked places of the way, and make the corners of our conduct square.
15. We use the compass to draw circles round our passions and desires to keep them in the bounds of righteousness.
16. We use the axe to cut away the knotty, useless and ungainly parts and make the character symmetrical.
17. We use the hammer to drive home the truth, and pound it in until it is a part of every part.
18. We use the plane to smooth the rough, uneven surfaces of joint, and block, and board that go to build the temple for the truth.
19. The chisel, line, the plummet and the saw all have their uses in the workshop of the mind.
20. And then this ladder with its trinity of steps, faith, hope and love; on it we climb up to the dome of purity in life.
21. And on the twelve-step ladder we ascend until we reach the pinnacle of that which life is spent to build–the Temple of Perfected Man.

Finally settle in for a third hearing of this story.  During this time you are in the now, what are you being called to do in the now with the tool that resonates with you? In your journey? Your life? You’re living in life?

Hear the third reading:

After the feast. The homeward journey. The missing Jesus. The search for him. His parents find him in the temple. He goes with them to Nazareth. Symbolic meaning of carpenter’s tools.

1. The great feast of the pasch was ended and the Nazarenes were journeying towards their homes.
2. And they were in Samaria, and Mary said, Where is my son? No one had seen the boy.
3. And Joseph sought among their kindred who were on their way to Galilee; but they had seen him not.
4. Then Joseph, Mary, and a son of Zebedee, returned and sought through all Jerusalem, but they could find him not.
5. And then they went up to the temple courts and asked the guards, Have you seen Jesus, a fair-haired boy, with deep blue eyes, twelve years of age, about these courts?
6. The guards replied, Yes, he is in the temple now disputing with the doctors of the law.
7. And they went in, and found him as the guards had said.
8. And Mary said, Why Jesus, why do you treat your parents thus? Lo, we have sought two days for you. We feared that some great harm had overtaken you.
9. And Jesus said, Do you not know that I must be about my Father’s work?
10. But he went round and pressed the hand of every doctor of the law and said, I trust that we may meet again.
11. And then he went forth with his parents on their way to Nazareth; and when they reached their home he wrought with Joseph as a carpenter.
12. One day as he was bringing forth the tools for work he said,
13. These tools remind me of the ones we handle in the workshop of the mind where things were made of thought and where we build up character.
14. We use the square to measure all our lines, to straighten out the crooked places of the way, and make the corners of our conduct square.
15. We use the compass to draw circles round our passions and desires to keep them in the bounds of righteousness.
16. We use the axe to cut away the knotty, useless and ungainly parts and make the character symmetrical.
17. We use the hammer to drive home the truth, and pound it in until it is a part of every part.
18. We use the plane to smooth the rough, uneven surfaces of joint, and block, and board that go to build the temple for the truth.
19. The chisel, line, the plummet and the saw all have their uses in the workshop of the mind.
20. And then this ladder with its trinity of steps, faith, hope and love; on it we climb up to the dome of purity in life.
21. And on the twelve-step ladder we ascend until we reach the pinnacle of that which life is spent to build–the Temple of Perfected Man.

When you are ready, enter into your breathing practice again. Feel the sounds and smells of the town fade, feel the workshop disappear around you. You are the Christ Child, you are love here and now as your modern room reforms around you.

Do a check in with your body, your fingers, toes, rhythmic breathing into the now.

Welcome back Love,

What are you going to do with your tools today?